Entrepreneur Philippines recently gathered a panel of experts to answer questions that baffled aspiring entrepreneurs for their upcoming December issue. In attendance at Chef Tatung's restaurant in Acacia Estates were: Jojo Ajero, CEO of XSite Solutions; Atty. Rodrigo Celicious, CEO and President of ASCEND Inc.; Dr. Tony Del Carmen, Program Director of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business; Josephine See, President and CEO of JM Peanut World and Prof. Arturo Ilano, C.E. Virata School of Business, UP Diliman.
It was a three hour session that felt like a crash course in franchising, MBAs and entrepreneurship. Ajero of XSite Solutions says that to make a solid business plan you have to, "take a look at the landscape first and offer what is not there." He cited Mang Inasal as an example saying that the brand was lucky because it was the first one to offer something different to the market. Del Carmen adds that, "business planning is a continuous process that does not only apply during the startup phase." He says you need to find a niche to fill and it is very difficult to find a niche; research is a big component. Celicious agrees that without doing initial research about the business, you already lose out even before you start. "One needs to study the ups and downs of a business," adds See.
On the question: Is it better to get MBA or entrepreneurship classes? Del Carmen says that if you want to be in a corporation, take an MBA. The MBA trains you to become a problem solver. The entrepreneur mindset is more opportunity-seeking. Ilano explains further that an MBA trains you to become a good manager. He says, "Managers are not experts,they are generalists." An entrepreneur will need to be a visionary to create and seek innovation.
Celicious says that, "sometimes you are paralyzed when you are trained as a manager." He said some of the richest people in the country like Henry Sy don't have MBAs but what they do is they hire people to run their business.
Which industries should entrepreneurs avoid? "Don't go to an industry you don't understand, " says Del Carmel. See said to, "avoid fad business and to study it first before going into it. You should be careful." Ajero also echoed the same advice saying, "don't go into fads not unless you can turn it around and make it mainstream. You have to know when to enter the market."
Ilano warns against businesses that you can enter easily because inexperienced players can ruin the market by driving down prices and even close down legitimate companies. "A lot of people enter the business with funding but no idea how to run it."
Want to read more of the interview? Read it in the December issue of Entrepreneur Philippines.
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